Today, I’ve mostly been making marmalade…

Though I’ve made a loaf of bread too. The Seville orange season gets earlier and earlier – it used to start in the last week in January but now it’s before the mid-point of the month. They’re huge oranges this year too, or Simon’s offerings are anyway. The water didn’t come more than halfway up the oranges in the preserving pan, so I halved them for the second and third batches, which made it much easier. I have nearly 25 jars, which will last the year, especially as there are a few jars left from last year – when I made four batches as we’d run out.

That’s all we’ve done, really. It’s windy tonight, Storm Brendan, apparently, who will be forgettable. I noticed, when I shut up the chooks, that a pane of glass is cracked in their greenhouse. There is netting on the outside but we need to add wire for their safety. I’ve lost too many to foxes and dogs, as well as mink and so on – poor little chickens are easy prey, even though I thought I’d been careful.

As long as I don’t think the roof is going to blow off, I quite like lying in bed listening to the wind and rain. Although I’ve lived here over half my life, the earlier part was spent within earshot of the sea or tidal river and rough weather is strangely comforting, probably because of its familiarity. Our last house was a big old Edwardian former rectory, with lots of sash windows that let in the draught. I used to lie in bed watching the curtains billow from the easterly gales. Or, on still nights, listening to the foghorn.

I rarely went on the beach in the summer, except when the children wanted to – actually, that was quite often, now I think about it. But I didn’t for my own pleasure. It was stormy days, when i’d come in with salty lips from the sea spray that I enjoyed. Winter walks on the seafront and watching lightning forking into the sea on stormy nights was my delight.

And that has nothing to do with marmalade. LT finds it hard to keep up, sometimes. Though he digresses too, which I enjoy. We’re as mercurial as cats, in our way.

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